Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Toxicol Chem. 2016 Sep;35(9):2304-10. doi: 10.1002/etc.3396. Epub 2016 May 27.

Long-term exposure to gold nanoparticles accelerates larval metamorphosis without affecting mass in wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) at environmentally relevant concentrations.

Author information

Department of Biology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Chemistry, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA.
Program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA.


Nanoparticles are environmental contaminants of emerging concern. Exposure to engineered nanoparticles has been shown to have detrimental effects on aquatic organisms. The authors synthesized gold nanoparticles (18.1 ± 3.5 nm) and tested their effects on time to and weight at metamorphosis in wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles, a species known to be sensitive to environmental stressors. Continuous exposure to all concentrations of gold nanoparticles (0.05 pM, 0.5 pM, and 5 pM in particles) for up to 55 d significantly reduced time to metamorphosis by as much as an average of 3 d (p < 0.05). However, exposure to gold nanoparticles had no effect on tadpole mass at metamorphosis. The approximately 18-nm gold nanoparticles used were metastable in dechlorinated tap water, resulting in a change in surface charge and aggregation over time, leading to negatively charged aggregates that were on the order of 60 nm to 110 nm. Nanoparticle aggregation could exacerbate the effect on time to metamorphosis. To the authors' knowledge, the present study is the first report on the effect of engineered nanoparticles of any kind on life-history variables in an amphibian, a taxonomic group that has been declining globally for at least 25 yr. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;35:2304-2310.


Aquatic; Ecotoxicology; Nanomaterials; Tadpoles

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center